Friday, November 16, 2018
Movies

Local producers team with ‘Blair Witch’ director for a three-project deal

Fans of The Blair Witch Project can talk with director Dan Myrick on Friday after a screening of the classic horror movie at Tampa Theatre.

During a Q&A, Myrick will of course talk about the 1999 film that launched his career and popularized the found-footage style, but heíll also have current news to discuss.

He has signed a three-project deal with local producers. The first is already in production: Skyman, about a man who believes aliens that abducted him as a child are summoning him for a reunion, which he wants to document on film.

One producer is Tampaís Joe Restaino, whose credits include Kevin Smithís upcoming horror movie Killroy Was Here, filmed in Sarasota.

The other is iHorror.com, a St. Petersburg-based online publication dedicated to covering all things horror. The website staff is involved in on-set production, but their primary contribution will be to bring Myrick back to his roots using a viral marketing campaign to sell a docu-style fictional film.

Horror conventions, video games, movies and TV shows pay iHorror for ad space and to make announcements on its social media channels, reaching more than 4 million Facebook followers.

"This is the perfect marriage," said Myrick, 54 and a Seattle resident. "Their strength is the online space, they are tech savvy and they have a long marketing reach. This just made sense."

Prior to the release of Blair Witch, Myrick and his production team created a website that added authenticity to the movie about three filmmakers who become victims while making a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch. Fake crime scene photos and news reports about the missing documentarians were posted on the website.

With many initially believing it was a true story, the movie made on a $40,000 budget grossed more than $250 million worldwide.

When Anthony Pernicka, 36, who like Myrick studied film at the University of Central Florida, founded iHorror six years ago, he too had viral marketing in mind.

"I figured when I got to the point that I have my own movie to release, I donít want to rely on other people to market for me," Pernicka said. "I figured let me create my own thing and have my own audience."

The online publication now employs 23 writers throughout the United States and England, and Pernicka has three other movie credits, including as director of the short film Monstrum, set for a 2019 release. But this is his biggest project.

Tampa producer Restaino, 39, put iHorror and Myrick together. He was already on board Skyman when he learned iHorror was local.

"Itís synergy," he said.

Around 40 percent of Skyman, which has a budget around $1†million, has been shot. Locally, the production will film B-roll in Tampa on Friday and a few scenes in Sarasota on Saturday.

It is slated for a 2019 release.

Next up as part of the three-project deal will be a 10-episode horror series with the working title Southern Gothic. Each episode will be a standalone story with a Southern twist, and Myrick will direct at least one. Production has not been scheduled, and a third project is yet to be chosen.

Since Blair Witch, Myrick has directed five movies, including Solstice, about a woman haunted by the presence of her twin sister who committed suicide. It premiered on Lifetime. He did not direct the Blair Witch sequels.

Still, Myrick admits, Blair Witch will likely continue to overshadow his other work.

"Iím not complaining too loudly about that," he said. "I think most independent filmmakers would like to be in my position to have one movie that left a mark."

But he has high hopes for Skyman.

"I love the story," he said. "Itís very much in the spirit of Blair Witch."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow
@PGuzzoTimes.

 
Comments
The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The story of prostitution, stripping and crime is becoming a movie called Zola. The production has been filming in the Tampa Bay area since Oct. 29, confirmed St.Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Review: Gut-punch 'Boy Erased' reveals cruelty of conversion therapy

Review: Gut-punch 'Boy Erased' reveals cruelty of conversion therapy

'Boy Erased' is a fair and balanced condemnation of conversion therapy. It's also a gut punch.
Published: 11/15/18
In theaters this week: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Widows,’ ‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Instant Family’

In theaters this week: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Widows,’ ‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Instant Family’

Take your pick at the multiplex from the Harry Potter prequel, a heist, a family comedy and an important gay conversion drama.
Published: 11/14/18
Tampa Bay comic book artists and fans react to Stan Lee’s death

Tampa Bay comic book artists and fans react to Stan Lee’s death

Tampa Bay is home to comic book industry professionals and fans — even a superhero — who were impacted by the Marvel icon and his work.
Published: 11/14/18
Holiday movie guide: From 'The Grinch' to 'Mary Poppins,' 32 movies to see by year's end

Holiday movie guide: From 'The Grinch' to 'Mary Poppins,' 32 movies to see by year's end

The season is stocked with awards hopefuls and familiar faces, including The Grinch (Nov. 9), the Potterverse (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Nov. 16), a superhero (Aquaman, Dec. 21) and even Mary Poppins, y'all (Mary Poppins Returns, Dec. 19).
Published: 11/06/18

Five Queen documentaries to stream before 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

Before seeing how Rami Malek does in Freddie Mercury’s shoes, here’s how to check out the real Mercury in action.
Updated one month ago
The Queen movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ survives impossible task of re-creating Freddie Mercury

The Queen movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ survives impossible task of re-creating Freddie Mercury

A decade in the making, the Queen biopic, arriving Friday, hinged on casting an actor who could capture their iconic singer's essence. Good thing Rami Malek came along.
Updated one month ago
Rupert Everett’s moving ‘Happy Prince’ stages Oscar Wilde’s tragic final act

Rupert Everett’s moving ‘Happy Prince’ stages Oscar Wilde’s tragic final act

Everett wrote, directed and stars in this almost unbearably bittersweet feast for the senses, which spotlights playwright and author Oscar Wilde, the 20th century’s first true pop celebrity, in decay far past his prime.
Updated one month ago
In theaters this week: ‘Johnny English Strikes Again,’ ‘Hunter Killer,’ ‘Mid90s’

In theaters this week: ‘Johnny English Strikes Again,’ ‘Hunter Killer,’ ‘Mid90s’

Rowan Atkinson is back as the bumbling spy Johnny English while Gerard Butler captains a submarine and Jonah Hill revisits ’90s L.A.
Updated one month ago
‘Mid90s’ is a time capsule of mixtapes, skating and more

‘Mid90s’ is a time capsule of mixtapes, skating and more

Written and directed by Jonah Hill, the film is an immersion in the sights and sound of a pop-cultural moment. Like its teen protagonist, it struggles for identity, and the struggle makes it interesting as well as occasionally frustrating.
Updated one month ago